Timo Schuster

Interview Lynn Bianchi, Artist, New York


Where are you living?

I have lived in Manhattan for over 40 years and recently moved to Brooklyn. Living in Manhattan was wonderful: we saw the city change over the years, which was fascinating. Brooklyn is much quieter, which I love and it has an exciting art scene as well.

How old you are? (if you don’t mind answering)

I am in my 70s. I am grateful that I am still very active in my work and my artistic practice has changed and deepened. I am happy to have been creating over so many years and to see my work transform with the coming of the digital age. I also started collaborating with many different people over the past few years, which I believe has helped me explore the technological possibilities in video art and create interdisciplinary work.

What inspires you?

Everyday life inspires me: the little things like good weather and the beach and people around me. The beach has always been a big source of inspiration for me because of how people seem to not only strip their clothes away but also the unnecessary layers of stress and pretense. I love how people seem to just enjoy themselves at the beach. I have a whole series dedicated to Coney Island and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York: for me, capturing seemingly mundane scenes there translates into a kind of universal experience of being.

Tell me about what you do?

I spent most of my career doing analog photography and a few years ago I expanded my practice to video art. To me, photography has always been an expression of the present moment, I think art in general has you sharply present and it’s an incredible gift of freedom. As an analog photographer, I was trained to take in the whole composition with the knowledge that I can’t add or detract anything from the moment I captured. With video I discovered that I am able to take in a wider perspective of what is happening, thus expanding the moment. I then condense what I capture into a work of video art that expresses the feeling and the atmosphere of the moment I experienced.

What’s the structure of a typical day like for you?

When I am not out shooting, I am working from home, collaborating with people who have more expertise in editing and special effects software. A lot of our day is looking at what I captured and discussing: communication is key. I have to be able to convey my vision and then balance it out with the possibilities of technology, taking in the advice of my collaborators as well. Sometimes it takes us months to be happy with a particular work, it truly is a creative process and it is constantly morphing and transforming.

What are some of your favorite sources for information?

Communicating with other artists from other disciplines as well as from my own is my favorite way of learning about new trends in the art world. I love going to exhibits and seeing shows, especially when friends are involved. And of course nothing can beat a good conversation over dinner! What is happening politically today affects us all, I watch the news of course and discuss the events with friends and family constantly.

How does social media influence your life?

Social media can be a lot of fun. I am happy I get to connect with so many people across the globe, which could never happen in the pre social media days. I love seeing other people’s work on Instagram and being able to comment and compliment them as well as receive comments and thoughts about my work from people all over the world.